My first show at a small comedy club and one of my favorite comics, I was more than excited. I had seen comics at larger venues and never really been impressed. Everything seems so prefab and formal as opposed to this intimate setting of less than 250 people. Plus there’s the fact that for whatever reason (maybe my British sense of humor?) I’m really just not into most of the comics I either see on TV, hear through MP3, or see in person. In fact, most of them straight up annoy the hell out of me and I will very rarely watch American comedy movies or TV shows (NBC’s Thursday night lineup is a big exception). Aziz’s Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening is a huge exception and was one of my top 15 albums of the year in 2010. I keep it in rotation as well as constantly text quotes of his within a circle of friends and family who are also big fans. He is finally a comic that I actually get.
I purchased the tickets less than a week ago with barely an hour’s Twitter notice and all three Monday night shows quickly sold out. Midway through his Dangerously Delicious tour, after taking the month of December off, he decided to squeeze a few more shows in before the tour officially got started again.
We stood in a line that wrapped around the Punchline Comedy Club before being shuffled into the club and realized that the room was a lot smaller than it looked from the outside. An usher took us to our chairs, two toward the rear of the room, just a little right of the center of the stage at a table of quiet, less-friendly people. Cocktail waitresses, as opposed to a bar, kept everyone in their seats while bringing the extremely weak and slightly over-priced drinks at a decent pace throughout the show.
The opening comic, local Chris Garcia, was pretty entertaining with his easy jabs at our neighborhood of the Mission and other SF/hipsterish humor. He was relaxed and comfortable with the crowd while delivering the laughs one after another the entire performance. I really enjoyed his bit and would actually go back again just for a show with him.
Headliner Aziz Ansari took the stage a bit before 10PM and started right into the laughs mostly involving his quest for women, lots of sexual innuendos, and being a nerdy male out in society. I really don’t want to ruin the jokes so I’m not gonna go there but yes, he was incredibly funny and we laughed our asses off the entire time. About half way through the show however, his demeanor changed and Aziz began to look much less comfortable, often pausing for 5-10 seconds at a time staring at his joke cheat sheet blankly. He was just off. After calling for a staff member to grab his iPhone from the dressing room he busted into a skit about his popular cousin Harris which included the ridiculousness of Harris’s college entrance essays, Aziz’s hypothetical and real response, and Harris’s possibly-more-ridiculous final product. Yes, these were amusing but he literally sat on the stool on stage reading off of his iPhone for a large part of the show. Anything after that point was definitely disjointed and he continued to look at his phone, nervously checking the time, before finishing off the show with a bit on his exciting New Years Eve with Jay-Z and Kanye.
It was great to see Aziz in public even though his performance showed him to be flawed and not the super-comic I had thought he was. He was one of us, the exact reason I related to his jokes in the first place. This really was almost refreshing. Maybe now he’ll even finally make those DJ drops for me that I keep bugging him about on Twitter! I had read that I made the wrong decision choosing the 9PM show over the 11PM because the last show doesn’t have to end and can run on and on if the comic pleases. This assured me that I made the correct choice and spent just enough time with my favorite comic of all time.
The video of him on NYE with Jay-Z, Kanye, and others: